It’s a matter of time before we get the news about Biden being infected.

The outbreak among Washington power brokers this week is something to behold. It appears to have started over the weekend at the Gridiron Dinner, an event not unlike the White House Correspondents Dinner that’s attended by many top government officials and members of Congress. Merrick Garland was there — and he’s now positive for COVID. Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, also attended. She’s positive. Adam Schiff and Joaquin Castro? Both there, both positive. Kamala Harris’s comms director, Jamal Simmons, was in the audience as well. And guess what.

Biden wasn’t there but over a dozen guests in all now have COVID. According to WaPo, “a half-dozen journalists as well as members of the White House and National Security Council staffs … said they tested positive after the event.” It must be the biggest superspreader event in official Washington since the notorious White House announcement ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

Ironically, the Gridiron Dinner had been canceled the past two years due to COVID fears. This year they held it to celebrate the end of the pandemic and the return to normalcy. They ended up with an outbreak — mostly clustered around three tables at the dinner, per reports. Attendees were required to be vaccinated but some said they weren’t checked upon entering. And there was no testing requirement, amazingly.

But it’s not just Gridiron attendees in Biden’s orbit who are testing positive. (Pelosi wasn’t at the dinner, in fact.) Last week Jen Psaki and Karine Jean-Pierre, both members of the White House comms team, were out of action from COVID. Biden’s sister suddenly has the virus as well:

Even the mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, has tested positive. Sure seems like BA.2, the even more contagious subvariant of Omicron, is on the loose in Washington. And all of this could be the tip of the iceberg: Remember that it was just a few days ago that the White House hosted a crowded indoor event on the Affordable Care Act attended by Biden, Harris, and Barack Obama. No masks in sight.

There was an event yesterday too. Nancy Pelosi, now positive for COVID, was within inches of our frail 79-year-old president.

What do we think the average age is in that particular crowd? Around 77, maybe? Good thing Biden got his second vaccine booster bright and early.

Sources told the Times that the White House is still taking a few extra precautions to protect Biden, such as testing officials more often who are in frequent contact with him and holding virtual meetings where possible. But they also don’t want him too cloistered, as that would be bad for the party’s image and for his own personal image. If Democrats are going to embrace a “back to normal” message before the midterms, Biden has to walk the walk. If he refuses because he fears infection, it’ll be further confirmation that he’s too old to lead effectively.

But if he does walk the walk, he’s almost certainly going to encounter the virus, probably soon. Mini-outbreaks are happening all over the government:

As reported by Politico’s Leah Nylen, a number of individuals who attended a prominent antitrust conference in Brussels last week also came down with Covid. That list includes Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter. Additionally, a number of reporters who attended a going-away party for National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne have tested positive for Covid. POLITICO had several reporters there, as well as at the Gridiron. All told, a number of media members who attended these events have in recent days tested positive for Covid or reported not feeling well.

The silver lining: I’ve seen no reports that any official who was infected recently has had a particularly severe case. If Dems want to send a “COVID is nothing to fear if you’re vaccinated” signal, our 82-year-old Speaker shrugging off a case would achieve that. And frankly, because Biden got a second booster so recently, if he’s destined to be infected then now might be an optimal time. His immunity to the virus is probably as high right now as it’ll ever be.

Exit question: Are they going to hold the White House Correspondents Dinner as scheduled? Maybe the outbreak will have subsided by the time the dinner is held three weeks from now.

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